WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE:WCG) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday. The brokerage presently has a $221.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective indicates a potential upside of 11.76% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “WellCare Health’s third-quarter 2017 earnings not only outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate but also increased significantly from the previous-year quarter on the back of strong results across its all three business lines. Its shares have outperformed the industry in a year’s time. Its robust inorganic growth is impressive. The company’s healthy balance sheet continues to support its operational excellence. Wellcare Health has also been witnessing revenue growth over the last six years. Following the strong third-quarter  results, the company raised its guidance for 2017. However, its rising level of debt hurts the bottom line. Continuous increase in the total expenses also weighs on the margins.”

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on WCG. Piper Jaffray Companies reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $214.00 price objective on shares of WellCare Health Plans in a report on Wednesday. Wells Fargo & Company reaffirmed a “market perform” rating and set a $188.00 price objective (up from $175.00) on shares of WellCare Health Plans in a report on Wednesday. Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on shares of WellCare Health Plans from $183.00 to $184.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Monday, August 7th. Jefferies Group LLC raised their price objective on shares of WellCare Health Plans from $190.00 to $210.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday. Finally, Cowen and Company assumed coverage on shares of WellCare Health Plans in a report on Monday, October 9th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $200.00 price objective for the company. Eleven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $188.50.

WellCare Health Plans (NYSE:WCG) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 31st. The company reported $4.08 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.90 by $2.18. The company had revenue of $4.40 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.37 billion. WellCare Health Plans had a net margin of 2.21% and a return on equity of 19.42%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 22.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.63 EPS.

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In other WellCare Health Plans news, CEO Kenneth A. Burdick sold 8,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $174.24, for a total value of $1,481,040.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 23,627 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,116,768.48. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Glenn Md Phd Steele, Jr. sold 8,374 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $171.97, for a total transaction of $1,440,076.78. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 5,722 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $984,012.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.47% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in WCG. Acadian Asset Management raised its stake in shares of WellCare Health Plans by 4,183.4% in the fourth quarter. Acadian Asset Management now owns 50,630 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,960,000 after acquiring an additional 49,448 shares during the last quarter. Boston Advisors raised its stake in shares of WellCare Health Plans by 25.7% in the fourth quarter. Boston Advisors now owns 12,700 shares of the company’s stock worth $993,000 after acquiring an additional 2,600 shares during the last quarter. Emerald Mutual Fund Advisers Trust raised its stake in shares of WellCare Health Plans by 45.7% in the fourth quarter. Emerald Mutual Fund Advisers Trust now owns 342,950 shares of the company’s stock worth $26,822,000 after acquiring an additional 107,595 shares during the last quarter. Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors LP raised its stake in shares of WellCare Health Plans by 53.9% in the fourth quarter. Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors LP now owns 42,272 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,306,000 after acquiring an additional 14,810 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Emerald Advisers Inc. PA raised its stake in shares of WellCare Health Plans by 46.7% in the fourth quarter. Emerald Advisers Inc. PA now owns 371,308 shares of the company’s stock worth $29,040,000 after acquiring an additional 118,238 shares during the last quarter. 98.40% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

WellCare Health Plans Company Profile

WellCare Health Plans, Inc is a managed care company. The Company focuses on government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs), to families, children, seniors and individuals with medical needs. The Company operates through three segments: Medicaid Health Plans, Medicare Health Plans and Medicare PDPs.

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Analyst Recommendations for WellCare Health Plans (NYSE:WCG)

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